Police thwart bid to steal bank’s millions in cyber ‘takeover’

Santander bank computer allegedly fitted with device to transmit desktop contents

Police in London believe they have thwarted an ‘audacious’ attempt to take over a computer at a branch of Santander bank. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Police in London believe they have thwarted an ‘audacious’ attempt to take over a computer at a branch of Santander bank. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Fri, Sep 13, 2013, 10:15

Police thwarted an “audacious” cyber gang’s attempt to steal millions of pounds after they remotely took control of a bank branch’s computers.

The men allegedly fitted a computer within a Santander Bank branch with a “keyboard video mouse” device which allowed them to transmit its desktop contents.

Using the gadget, the men remotely took control of all the computers at the branch in Surrey Quays shopping centre in southeast London, but it is unclear whether they were able to take any money.

Officers yesterday arrested 11 men aged between 23 and 50 in Hounslow, west London. A 34-year-old was arrested in Victoria, west London.

Searches were carried out at addresses in Westminster, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Brent and Richmond, and also in Slough, where property has been seized.

A police spokeswoman said: “It is still not clear whether any money was extracted from the computers but we should have more information as the investigation develops.”

The men are being held in custody at a London police station.

Detective inspector Mark Raymond, of Scotland Yard’s Police Central e-crime Unit, said: “This was a sophisticated plot that could have led to the loss of a very large amount of money from the bank, and is the most significant case of this kind that we have come across.

“ I would like to thank our partners from the industry who have provided valuable assistance throughout this investigation.”

Mr Raymond said the special unit was “committed to tackling cyber-crime and the damage it can cause to individuals, organisations and the wider economy”.

PA